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Volume 24 No. 113

Franchises

     In Dallas, an appeals court ruled the Cowboys may not  block
worker's compensation funds negotiated for ex-wide receiver Scott
Ankrom, according to this morning's DALLAS MORNING NEWS.  Ankrom
injured his knee in '89 and the Cowboys claimed he was not
permitted to "double dip," meaning be compensated twice -- in
salary and by the insurance company.  The ruling "could undermine
a subsequent effort by Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones to recover"
about $1M that was awarded to 16 other former players under
worker's comp claims or insurance settlements.  A trial court had
originally ruled in favor of the club, awarding Jones the $26,500
in compensation, plus attorney fees.  Jones then sued 16 other
ex-players for similar "double dipping" complaints (Doug Bedell,
DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 3/29).

     MSG's new playoff ticket payment plan is the "most onerousplayoff ticket deal in the long history of the Garden," writesPhil Mushnick in this morning's N.Y. POST.  The ITT/Cablevisionownership is now asking for an earlier full payment from seasonticket holders for playoff tickets to the Rangers and the Knicks.MSG says it is billing "extra early as a service to fans; toavoid long lines at the box office ... How considerate."Mushnick says MSG should return money for unused playoff tickets,or apply the money to next year's tickets with the "appropriatebank interest attached; months worth of interest the Garden willpocket."  In other Garden news, the MSG Network has notifiedtheir affiliates there will be no rebate for the 35 lost Rangergames due to the NHL work stoppage.  Earlier, MSG NetworkPresident Doug Moss "promised cable systems and, by extension,their subscribers, a rebate based on the loss" of the games.Moss has since left the network.  Mushnick writes, "We don't knowenough about ITT, but we do know that an abused consumer has longbeen Cablevision's idea of a job well done" (Phil Mushnick, N.Y.POST, 3/29).

     The Pirates ownership, which bought the team in 1985, has
"gone from the men who saved baseball for Pittsburgh to the men
who might ruin it," writes Bob Smizik in this morning's
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE.  The team has recently begun to
entertain offers from out-of-state buyers, and Smizik writes that
the owners' "intentions, once seemingly so noble, look
significantly darker today."  He criticizes the group for taking
on too much debt and for their slow sale of the team -- "no one
is even certain they still want to sell," as they have become
"excessively slow to come to agreement" with prospective buyer,
Adelphia Communications Chair John Rigas.  Smizik: "These men
have outlived their usefulness with the Pirates.  They should
have gone quietly long ago" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 3/29).
     TICKETS, WHO NEEDS TICKETS?  The Pirates have sold 27,000
tickets for Monday's opener against the Expos, close to 60% of
capacity at Three Rivers Stadium.  Because of the strike, the
team has "all but eliminated most off-season advertising," and
did not run TV and radio ads describing their reduced ticket
policy -- half price for their first 20 games -- until ten days
ago (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 3/29).  Pittsburgh City Council
President Jim Ferlo is calling on fans to boycott Pirates games
as a protest to ownership's delay in selling to local buyer Rigas
(AP, 3/29).

     The deal to bring the CFL's Posse from Las Vegas to Jackson,
MS, is "dead," according to today's Vancouver PROVINCE.  On
Tuesday, the league was making "frantic efforts" to find new
investors, but nothing was announced. (Kent Spencer,  Vancouver
PROVINCE, 3/29).

     NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue and Rams President John Shaw
reached agreement Tuesday on the "sharing of funds from a seat
license campaign in St. Louis," according to Michele Himmelberg
in this morning's ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER.  The sharing of PSL
revenue was a key sticking point when owners rejected the Rams
relocation to St. Louis on March 15.  Shaw said they "have agreed
to share those funds with some exclusions," which in turn must be
negotiated with the NFLPA.  Shaw also said the two sides agreed
that the Rams will pay the NFL "over the life of the seat
licenses," rather than up front, which the league had requested.
Himmelberg reports the sides "made no progress" on the other
issues preventing the move -- a payment to the Fox as a rebate
for leaving the No. 2 media market, and contributions to a NFL-
proposed stadium renovation fund.  The two sides also extended
their "standstill agreement" on legal action, as the Rams had the
right to sue first if they filed by Friday.  The agreement was
pushed back to April 17, and Shaw said they would continue to
negotiate with Tagliabue rather than "hurrying into court"
(ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 3/29).  ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported
last night on "SportsCenter" that "most league officials and
owners concede that the Rams will eventually get their way"
("SportsCenter," ESPN, 3/28).
     HOW MUCH?  Save the Rams, the civic group in the L.A. area
trying to keep the team, has kicked off a membership drive to
attract local fans and businesses.  The group is asking for a $50
membership fee and hopes to gain over 5,000 members (ORANGE
COUNTY REGISTER, 3/29).

     Controversy erupted yesterday over the initial sale forSenators' tickets for seats in the new Palladium when the teamadmitted the existence of a corporate client list that will getthe chance to buy ahead of many long time season-ticket holders.Senators Senior VP Brian Ashe acknowledged the two lists, but hesaid the corporate list would be merged with the main list offans who pledged $25 "long before Ottawa was awarded" an NHLteam.  Starting today, the Senators are treating the main listand corporate list "equally," serving one from each, until thecorporate list of about 300 customers is finished.  Ashe saidthey tried to use "the fairest approach," but noted the team"depends heavily" on corporate clients who buy ads and PalladiumClub memberships (Michael Prentice, OTTAWA CITIZEN, 3/29).